Top Secrets

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Top-Secrets-Bora-Bora
Bora BoraCredit

Bora-Bora's Leading Lines** As we reviewed our possible cover photos, this image of the Hotel Bora Bora kept drawing us in. That was by design. Photographer Douglas Peebles used the principle known as leading lines for a composition that invites viewers to look deeper, then deeper still into this photo. It starts with the bungalow in the foreground. Notice how the roofline slopes from the edge of the page to the center. The line of the floor and deck does the same thing, as do the lines in the bungalows on the left-hand side. Your eye instinctively follows those lines to the majestic peaks. Along the way, the image's broad depth of field shows details that encourage careful viewing. All of it pops under the sunny, blue skies that make Bora-Bora such a beautiful destination.

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Top-Secrets-Tasmanias-Singular Tree
Tasmania's Singular TreeCredit

Tasmania's Singular Tree** When we sorted through photographer Matthieu Paley's images from his Tasmania trip, this shot captured the wild, ethereal vibe of the island itself. The graphic composition and the light make it work. In deciding to center the tree in the frame, Paley breaks the common "rule of thirds" here, which would call for setting the tree off-center (for an example, look at the boat captain opposite this tree). Yet it's knowing the rules - and when to break them - that's the key to this image's power. Another important tip is to keep shooting even on a cloudy day because it can create a dramatic, moody photo. "The right light is here for this kind of image: overcast with a bit of diffused light toward the end of the day," Paley says. "A threatening sky is good, too. As a photographer you have to be able to shoot in all weather conditions. I might use a neutral-density filter to bring the light down more and shoot wide open to give a shallow depth of field, which also creates a bit of a vignette look. If you shoot RAW [the unconverted, highest-resoluton image format], you can adjust settings to your liking in the computer later. I like to bring saturation down, maybe underexpose the image a bit, like on this picture - et voila!"

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Top-Secrets-Moorea's Fresh Angles
Moorea's Fresh AnglesCredit

Moorea's Fresh Angles** Over-water bungalows are always a popular photo subject for ISLANDS. In this case, the angle works well to showcase these bungalows with a sense of place. Shooting from a boat captured the scale of the mountain in dramatic contrast with the intimacy of the bungalows. Also effective is the use of light at this angle, providing an interesting contrast with the cover image of Bora-Bora. In this image from Moorea, the sun is higher in the sky, so the mood isn't as dreamy. Yet the light is still even across the majority of the huts, so they seem to pop from the foliage. It lights up just enough detail on the bungalows to make them inviting.

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Top-Secrets-Montserrat's Tiny Aerials
Montserrat's Tiny AerialsCredit

Montserrat's Tiny Aerials** Rather than a photojournalistic approach, this image of Montserrat's devastated landscape is from an artistic perspective. "From the air that scene looked like a destroyed model city, which is what I wanted to convey," says photographer Jad Davenport. To magnify that effect, Jad used a couple of techniques. "I shot as wide as possible from the helicopter and then enhanced the depth of fi eld with the lens-blur filter in Photoshop," he says. "If I'd been printing in the darkroom, I would have simply tilted the paper tray." Striking details jump off the page against the softer landscape, leading to an impression that's more surreal than real.

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Top-Secrets-Wilson's Night Life
Wilson's Night LifeCredit

Wilson's Night Life** The real accomplishment here was making the most of two very different light sources. Outside the tent, it's the blue hour on Wilson Island, which gives a cool color, literally, to the natural surroundings. Inside, the incandescent lights create a warm glow. The balance is beautiful. Earlier in the day, the interior would be in shadow; later, the exterior would be lost in complete darkness. So shot correctly - with the appropriate exposure from a tripod at the one perfect moment - this image succeeds.

* For more tips and to get personal advice, visit Lori's new mini-site at islands.com/photos.